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Politics

Maryland Democratic Party official resigns after sending email questioning the electability of Black candidates

A Maryland Democratic Party official and longtime party donor has resigned after an email she sent questioning the electability of Black candidates in the state’s governor’s race, the state party chair announced Monday.

Barbara Goldberg Goldman, who was the deputy treasurer for the party in Maryland, “has tendered her resignation and I have accepted it,” Yvette Lewis, the state party chair, said in a statement.

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“We do not condone or support the comments in her email,” Lewis wrote in the announcement. “They do not represent the values of the Maryland Democratic Party.”

The resignation was announced a day after Axios reported on an email Goldman sent in December, when she explained why she was endorsing former U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez for the gubernatorial nomination in Maryland.

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There are 10 candidates running in Maryland’s Democratic primary, and three Republicans running in the GOP primary, including former Maryland Commerce Department Secretary Kelly Schulz. Republican Gov. Larry Hogan is term-limited.

Goldman began her Dec. 15 email: “So, my thinking beyond here is the age-old question: Which candidate(s) have a better chance in the General election of beating an attractive female Hogan team member for whom both Dems and Repubs have expressed genuine likability?”

She added: “Consider this: Three African-American males have run statewide for Governor and have lost. Maryland is not a Blue state. It’s a purple one. This is a fact we must not ignore. In the last 20 years, only eight have been with a Democratic Governor. We need a winning team. IMHO.”

Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-1 in Maryland. Maryland’s Black population is 29%, the highest percentage outside the Deep South. Maryland’s past two Democratic nominees for governor have been Black.

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The three Black candidates seeking the Democratic nomination this year — former Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker, who unsuccessfully sought the nomination in 2018 and received 29% of the vote in the primary; former U.S. Education Secretary John King; and Wes Moore, an author and nonprofit executive — condemned Goldman’s comments, saying those sentiments should have no place in the party or the country.

A spokesman for Moore said the “idea that there would be skepticism about a candidate’s electability because they are Black should have no place in the Democratic Party in Maryland — a state with both incredible diversity and disparities — or anywhere else in America in 2022.”

In a letter Sunday asking for her resignation, Baker called the email “utterly inexcusable” and said “such comments merely serve to excuse and legitimize acts of institutional racism (...).”

A spokesman for Perez, who is Latino, said Goldman’s “ill-conceived comments do not reflect the values of our campaign” and said Perez had urged her to resign.

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Party chair Lewis underscored Maryland’s diversity in her statement Monday.

“I am excited that our Gubernatorial candidates reflect this diversity,” Lewis wrote. “I also know that whoever emerges as our nominee will be a superb candidate and an outstanding Governor.”

Baltimore Sun reporter Bryn Stole contributed to this article.


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